Thursday, 22 October 2009

Corset mock-up

I got into a bit of a slump after the lecture. Even positive energy can be draining, but I've been sewing a little. I've long wanted to make an overbust corset, but so far I haven't pulled it off. I bought a pattern, which I should have known was a bad idea. One of the reasons I learned pattern construction was because commercial patterns always have to be altered. So even the largest size was too small for my chest, but too big every else. But I've lacked good instructions on how to draw up a pattern for an overbust, even if I had some ideas, so I just let it float around in the back of my brain. In September I started to subscribe to Your Wardrobe Unlock'd and tried their instructions on how to draw up an 1870's corset. And this is what I have managed, so far.

Of course, the most important thing before even starting a project, is to have a cat lay on it. Here Spiff eagerly helps me to try out the paper. He also helped with important tasks like chewing on the measure tape, chase the eraser and bat at my pencil. In other words, I couldn't have done it without him.

I found it very easy to draw up the pattern, but then I know pattern construction- I guess it's harder if you don't. It's really not as hard as it first seems. If you take it slowly and just concentrate on the step at hand, then it's not so difficult.

So, here's my mock-up. It's just in one layer, the fabric is a piece of upholstery velvet that was laying around. The boning channels are made out of the seam allowances, with two extra channels in blue gross-grain ribbon at the front.

The pic is a bit angled, but I think you can see that the corset isn't straight. I don't know why, so perhaps you have an idea? My body is rather symmetrical, so I don't think that's the problem. My thought is that I somehow screwed up the pattern pieces when I cut it. Other ideas?

Problems that I can see, but know how to fix are that I need extra boning channels in the back. Also, I need spiral bones at the side-seams. I have that at home, but I need to cut it, and I didn't want to for the mock-up, as I was unsure if I wanted this length. So now it's just plastic boning, which doesn't work. I also need a longer busk and two extra boning channels at the sides of the busk. The cups are a little too low-cut, just to my nipples, but that's easy to correct as well.

I'm surprised, and pleased, on how well it fits! My breast don't flow over, even if it's cut low. (I've tried it without a top too, but that wasn't decent enough to show.) It was a but difficult to lace myself in, so the bottom is much looser than the top. That is why the side-seam looks tilted.

However, I felt that I could easily have laced the corset tight without discomfort, and I'm fairly certain that when laced in evenly, that tilt will be no more. I got down 10 centimetres around the waist- I wonder how much that will be when I'm properly laced.

Next step is to sew a proper, but not fancy, corset. I want to be sure I have a working garment before embellishing it. I've done that before, making a pair of stays by hand and then finding that the pretty thing didn't fit me at all! Also, Your Wardrobe Unlock'd's sister site, Foundations Revealed has a free tutorial on how to adapt old corset patterns to your own measurement. Very exiting!


The Dreamstress said...

Cool! I am so envious of people who can instantly loose 10cm in the waist :-( I've got too many rib bones that get in the way.

The pattern looks great, but you definitely need better bones!

Madame Berg said...

I'm so impressed by those of you who just can whip something like this together :) Victorian clothing is a territory where I'll never, ever set my foot, mostly to save my sanity. I've problems enough with my 18th c clothing ;D

Isis said...

AlohaAroha: Well, the reason I can do that is because my bones are covered with a good layer of fat. :-) Much easier to move around...

Thank you!

Madame Berg: If it's any comfort I don't whip anything up, really. I'm a very slow seamstress, unfortunately. I wish I was faster.

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